Late one evening in August, 1885, the Arco-Houston stage was held up and the bandits called for the strong box in which it was believed several thousand dollars worth of bullion was being taken to Salt Lake City, The robbery took place west of present town of Arco, near what is now known as the W. T. Thornton ranch. The stage was in charge of a veteran stage driver named Lou Washburn. Seated with Washburn on the driver's seat was a man whose name is unknown to local pioneers. IN the stage rode Mrs. Jennie Ferris of Arco and her two sons, Arthur and Louis, age 3 and 1.
The stage was enroute from Houston to Old Arco. Mrs. Ferris and the children had spent a few days with Mr. Ferris at Houston where he had opened a branch store. As the stage came down off a hill near the Thornton ranch two men came out of the brush and ordered the driver to stop. One man was armed with a shot gun. The other had a Colt's pistol.
When the stage came to a stop, one of the robbers ordered the strong box thrown off. During the few minutes between the time the order was given and the box was thrown to the ground, the man with the shot gun accidentally pulled the trigger and the full charge grazed Washburn's leg. Pretending that he was not badly hurt, Mr. Washburn inquired as to the comfort of Mrs. Ferris and her sons and learning that they were unharmed, the journey was continued. When the stage reached Old Arco, Washburn was so weak from the loss of blood that he had to be carried into the home of Mr. Ferris.
Rumors prior to the hold up that a valuable shipment
of bullion was to be transported on the stage that day from
the General Custer mine to /salt Lake City, undoubtedly was responsible for the robbery. For some unknown reason,
the shipment missed connections and the strong box contained only $120 in currency. Neither the driver nor the
passengers were molested. The bandits thought the strong box carried rich bullion and they were after a big haul.
During the afternoon preceding the stage robbery, the store at Old Arco was robbed by two men, later believed to be the same men who held up the stage. Arthur Judges and Joe Galligher, who were in charge of the store during the absence of Mr. Ferris, were surprised and at the point of guns, backed up against the wall and one man kept them covered with a gun, while the other man rifled the cash drawer and took some other valuables he wanted.
As soon as possible a posse was organized but no trace of the bandits was found. Due to slow means of communication it was two weeks before an investigator for the Wells- Fargo Express Co., arrived on the scene. The strong box was a short distance from the spot where the robbery took place. Nothing was missing except the money.
Several moths later two men were arrested in Montana
for horse stealing. they were known as 'Red' and 'Roxey'
After their conviction and sentence on the charge of horse stealing, it was learned that they had robbed the Arco- Houston stage. While in the Montana pen Roxey returned a gold tooth pick he had stolen in the store robbery at Old Arco. It was a keep sake of Mr. Ferris and prized very highly by him.
Later Red served a term in the Idaho Penitentiary
and all trace of the men was lost. Red was a lad about 19 years of age,
while Roxey was considerably older. Both were well known in Blackfoot and
Eagle Rock where they had been employed it various jobs from tending bar
to breaking horses.
It is quite generally believe by the pioneers, that Roxey died while serving time in the Montana pen, although there seems to be no authentic information on the subject.
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